DENVER (CBS4) – The day before the state of Colorado was set to announce its first winner of a $1 million cash prize in an effort to increase the number of people vaccinated, health officials said Thursday they could not properly measure the full impact of this campaign.
Staff with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment did say there was a slight increase, the number of people who got doses of the vaccine is up 2% compared to when the program was announced three weeks ago.
“I just think it’s a good thing to get done. It’s really important for the country to get back on track,” Benjamin Greschler said. He got his second dose at a vaccine clinic on the Auraria Campus in Denver, unaware of the Colorado Comeback Cash giveaway. “I actually hadn’t heard about that. So first time I’m hearing about that.”
CDPHE explained in a video conference call with the media that there is a delay in collecting all the data in order to determine how many more people signed up for the vaccine since they announced there would be multiple $1 million winners. People only need to have one vaccine dose to be eligible but must receive it by a certain deadline to be eligible for the drawing. Anyone who doesn’t win in one round will still have a chance in the following rounds.
“We saw a little bump,” said Heather Roth, the immunization branch chief for CDPHE. “I don’t think we’ll know the true impact for a while.”
From May 25 to June 2, CDPHE says 152,370 doses were administered in the state. Staff also said that Memorial Day Weekend likely reduced the potential turnout for people who want to get the vaccine.
The state of Ohio has already given away multiple cash prizes including student scholarships. Last month the governor announced a dramatic increase in vaccine rates in that state among certain age groups. He said for teens 16 and 17, the number of people vaccinated is up 94%. The next age group, teens 18 and 19 years old, are up 46%. The remaining group of young adults, ages 20 to 49, also were up 55%.
Colorado plans to award five $1 million prizes and 25 scholarships for $50,000.
“I wanted to get it to make everybody safer,” said Shawn Smith. He got his first dose on Thursday at the Auraria campus. He said $1 million would be nice but not the reason he got the vaccine.
“I would have done it without even knowing about the money.”